Unto You is Born This Day
by Seattle ALC
In the four corners of the world, preparations are being made to celebrate Christmas. It is a time of unequalled festivity. More time and effort are expended in these annual preparations than for any other occasion. Many weeks before Christmas, we are exposed to the world’s version of the meaning and the joys of the holiday season.
Although christians and the people of the world both observe Christmas, the emphasis of necessity must be different. For the world it is a time of levity which we as believers totally reject. Our joy does not lie in the celebrations which are an expression of the unbridled desires of our lower nature, the nature of Adam. Neither does it lie in the material aspect of the commercialized Christmas where the gift exchange is given top priority. Although we value the family gatherings and the love that unites us, and we are thankful for God’s provisions as we sit down at tables laden with special foods, and we appreciate the comfort and the warmth of our homes made especially cheerful for the occasion—yet, these are not our Christmas joy.
We cherish the Christmas carols and the old hymns. As we go to church on Christmas, we never tire of the story of the birth of Jesus. Emotion fills our hearts and tears our eyes as we sing “Silent Night! Silent Night!”
And yet in the midst of all these beautiful traditions and touching celebrations, if we think of the Christmas story as only an event in history, there will be no lasting value to these outwardly meaningful celebrations. Let us look at the message of the angel who appeared to the shepherds as they were keeping watch over their flocks the night in which Jesus was born. The angel said to them: “Fear not for behold I bring YOU good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto YOU is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10&11)
Let us particularly note that the angel did not simply say: “I bring good tidings of great joy”, but “I bring YOU good tidings of great joy”. Neither did he only say: “A Saviour is born” but “unto YOU is born a Saviour”. Faith filled the hearts of the shepherds that night! As soon as the angels were gone from them into heaven, they said one to another: “Let us go unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass which the Lord has made known unto us.” The message of the angels was the message from Lord , and it was for them, the shepherds. By faith they laid claim to the Word and that faith prompted them to seek of the Saviour.
In order for us to celebrate Christmas as did the shepherds, we need a like faith, a faith which not only enables to believe the Word, but also to seek for the Saviour. The Christmas story is not simply a historical fact which we which we remember each year. We rightly celebrate Christmas when we believe that Jesus came into the world to be our Saviour. Let us hasten to the place where we may find Him.
The swaddling clothes in which the angel said He would be wrapped, represents the sacred Scriptures, the Word of God. In His transfiguration experience on the mount (Matthew 17) Moses and Elijah were seen talking with Jesus. These two men, representing the law and the prophets, were His witnesses. There is no surer testimony on earth than the Holy Bible. Jesus said: “Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life, for they are they which testify of me.” “For if ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.” (John 5: 39 & 46)
As we celebrate Christmas with Jesus as our Saviour, we can exclaim with St. Paul: “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” (II Corinthians 9: 15) Then we can also sing with deep, and inner abiding joy:
“Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon virgin mother and child;
Holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
“Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.”
From the archives of the late Pastor A. C. Holmgren -December 1985
Submitted by Pastor Stan
December 17, 2020
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